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Analyzing the Understandability of Requirements Engineering Languages for CSCW Systems: A Family of Experiments


Context of the proposal: Collaborative Systems
Nowadays, even classic applications like text processors are collaborative. For instance, Google Docs [2] enables several users to edit a text document simultaneously . These collaborative text processors are a good example of CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) systems [3], which are systems whose users can perform collaboration, communication and coordination tasks (3C). Collaborative systems, in a similar way to classical single-user systems, have to be specified by means of a set of requirements, whose accuracy and suitability are key to achieve the quality of the developed system. The main difference between the requirements of single-user systems and CSCW systems is the highly non-functional nature of the latter, because of the users’ need of being aware of the presence of other users with whom to perform the above mentioned 3C tasks, that is, the Workspace Awareness (WA). In order to deal with the specification of this special type of systems, we conducted several empirical evaluations in order to check which is the most adequate Requirements Engineering technique to model both awareness and quality requirements of CSCW systems. We concluded that the i* Framework [1], was the most promising one. However, we identified several issues when modeling collaborative systems with this language that led us to extend the original i* language by creating CSRML (Collaborative Systems Requirements Modeling Language) [4] and evaluate it empirically.

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